In a fit of pre-baby nesting, I bought curtains from a place named Country Curtains. As you can imagine, this has put me on all sorts of crazy mailing lists, and I now routinely receive catalogs advertising all sorts of essentials for the demented, like dog-strollers or window draft-blockers shaped like chains of dancing dwarves.
Then, one day, the Vermont Country Store catalog came in over the transom. If you’ve never seen it—and I hadn’t—it’s the ultimate old-lady catalog. You can buy flannel house-coats, flannel sleep caps (no kidding), slippers galore, and perfumes of yore, like White Shoulders, Evening in Paris, and Jungle Gardenia, “the fragrance favored by Barbara Stanwyck.”
On further inspection, though, I realized it also has all these really great candies you can’t get anywhere else: Valomilk marshmallow cups, Walnettos, and those three-color coconut rainbow strips my grandmother used to love. On further, further inspection, I got all choked up and teary, as I realized how many of these candies I recognized from my Grandma Millie’s coffee table. Grandma Millie is long gone, but she was a devout candy lover, and kept the little dishes on her coffee table well-stocked with those brightly colored citrus segments, sherbet mint wafers, and every chocolate-marshmallow combination known to man. My dad would have loved all the special old-fashioned licorices from the Vermont Country Store’s “Licorice Lover’s Paradise” page, but he’s long gone, too. Sad. So now I have all sorts of perfect gift ideas for people I can’t give gifts to. Sad, sad, sad.
And so I think of you, dear readers. If you’ve got old-fashioned candy lovers in your life, attend! Now you know where to get stocking stuffers for them.
Alternately, if you really want to confound the kids in your neighborhood, consider offering horehound drops as this year’s Halloween candy.